Toyota announced plans to deploy its e-Palettes in Paralympics in October 2019. But the pandemic had delayed the games by a year. The Paralympics is now live in Tokyo and Toyota had deployed its self-driving e-Palettes as promised. But after four days into the game, the company removed the vehicle from the Olympics village following a collision with a pedestrian. The vehicle reportedly hit a visually impaired athlete who was walking nearby it.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has clarified that the collision took place after the vehicle paused for a manual turning by an onboard operator. It hit the pedestrian while it was only travelling at one or two kilometers per hour. Even though the identity of the injured is not revealed, reports say that the person was not seriously hurt.
Toyota had initially planned to deploy a total of 20 vehicles that can travel at a speed of 12 miles per hour. It can travel in an established loop and the company had placed an onboard operator for safety in case anything went wrong. The vehicle that Toyota deployed for the games was adapted for the Paralympics. It had an electric ramp on it and had space for up to four wheelchairs. It was also adjusted for colour-blind passengers.